A practical conservation tool to combine diverse types of evidence for transparent evidence-based decision-making
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Making the reasoning and evidence behind conservation management decisions clear and transparent is a key challenge for the conservation community. Similarly, combining evidence from diverse sources (e.g., scientific and local knowledge) into decision-making is also difficult. Our group of conservation researchers and practitioners has co-produced an intuitive tool and template (Evidence-to-Decision [E2D] tool: www.evidence2decisiontool.com) to guide practitioners through a structured process to transparently document and report the evidence and reasoning behind decisions. The tool has three major steps: (1). Define the Decision Context; (2). Gather Evidence; and (3). Make an Evidence-Based Decision. In each step, practitioners enter information (e.g., from the scientific literature, practitioner knowledge and experience, and costs) to inform their decision-making and document their reasoning. The tool packages this information into a customized downloadable report (or is documented if using the offline template), which we hope can stimulate the exchange of information on decisions within and between organizations. By enabling practitioners to revisit how and why past decisions were made, and integrate diverse forms of evidence, we believe our open-access tool's template can help increase the transparency and quality of decision-making in conservation.